From the notes of Day 39: 6/18/2011

The jazz band is swinging over the edge of Pincian Hill.  Behind them are the piazzas and pizzas of Rome.  The Ancient Egyptian obelisk of Piazza del Popolo fills the foreground.  Further west there is a dome that covers a sizable portion of an entire country.  I am sitting against the railing at the cliff side of Pincian Hill listening to a swinging band and waiting for the sun to set over the Vatican.  It is just past noon so I have a while to wait.

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I opened my blanket into the grass and took a seat.  This part of the park was full of people who were picnicking and napping.  I had a difficult time deciding which one to choose so I did both.  Success all around.

When I woke up from my nap it was still early in the afternoon.  The sun would not set for hours.  I packed up my blanket and walked to the east.  The path led straight as far as I could see.  It also broke off down smaller paths every few sets of steps.  I took one of the paths and found that it paralleled a row of marble busts.  So did all the other paths.  I saw Ancient Greeks and Romans alongside the bust of Charles Lindbergh.  I even saw what purported to be the bust of a wizard from Volinor, though I have my doubts.  At the end of one of the trails I found a small outdoor sculpture exhibition featuring pieces by Salvador Dali.  I circled the exhibit and headed back to the trails.  The busted paths opened into sidewalks, boulevards, and bridges.

I took the high road.

I sat on the guard rails of the bridge looking down at the street below.  On the bridge behind me were weavers and winders on wheels.  They danced and dashed among miniature construction cones on their blades of wheels.  A shirtless man with tattoos and a drum provided a reactive soundtrack.  The bladers slid one footed along the pavement, whipping left and right around the cones.

As the first cold of evening moved in the bridge emptied.  I followed the long, straight path back towards the lookout point of Pincian Hill.  The fountains and statues on the path were lit by the gold of the ready-to-set sun.  I circled them quickly so that I could see the horizon as it went through the spectrum of colors.

I arrived at the lookout point and was soon joined by many others as we watched the sun set over the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica.  The jazz band had been replaced by the smooth sound of a nylon string guitarist.  Rome, never one to give up without a fight, battled back against the darkness.  The streets and buildings of the city glowed yellow-orange and hummed electric.

Rome stayed alive as the night began.  My plans this night were far to the north so before the final train ran I walked down the forever flights of stairs to the Flaminio stop.  I saw the last train warning and people scrambling up and down the platform looking in the cars for an open spot.  I knew that getting a seat would be impossible but I was nearly as certain that I would be getting on this train.  I did.

By the time the train reached my stop most of the passengers had deboarded.  When I arrived back at the campground a new adventure had already begun.  I will share that story some other day.  Until then here are some pics from the day’s adventure…

The obelisk in Piazza del Popolo

Bust of Pythagoras

Bust of the wizard Gandalf

“Nobility of Time” by Salvador Dali

“Surrealist Piano” by Salvador Dali

From the Ancient Roman Legend of Batman Versus Superman

Wheel Dancing

Reverse Wheel Dancing

High Flying Wheel Dancing

Statue in the Sun

And now the view on Pincian Hill as the sun sets…